By Jessica Epperly
An editorial calendar is used by bloggers, publishers, businesses and groups to control publication of content across different media. Publishers also extract some of their editorial calendar data and make the data publicly available to attract advertisers. Public relations professionals use these abbreviated editorial calendars to try to place stories for their clients. However, the primary purpose of editorial calendars is to control the publication of content to ensure regular appearance of content that interests both readers and advertisers.
Most media work on a tight schedule. Depending on their frequency, stories typically need to be filed at a certain time of the day, week or month. It is important to know when a journalist needs to file a story in order to meet their deadline. In some cases, you may need to pitch a story months in advance if you want to make a certain issue. This scenario is what public relations professionals call “long leads” because they require long lead times. Other outlets, such as daily newspapers, publish new stories every day so their lead times are called “short leads.” Media who have short lead times can often be pitched a story 1-2 days in advance of being published.
Make sure you are knowledgeable about the writing style, topics of interest and audience of the outlet before pitching a story. For example, if a publication is planning an editorial on social media trends, you should first find out if the editorial will be geared towards consumers or if it will be more business related. Whatever it is, make sure you tailor your pitch to fit that audience. You should also consider the scope of the outlet and if it is written for an international audience or if it’s more regionalized. Oftentimes, you can access a publication’s editorial calendar via their website or by calling editorial staff.